Poor neglected blog. Between becoming the co-founder of a start-up (Writer.ly), helping Olivia with college applications, finishing my novel, cavorting with a firefighter, raising a puppy and keeping a 13-year old in a rainbow array of Vans, the blog has slid somewhat in priority.
Last week, I traveled to San Francisco with my Writer.ly co-founder Kelsye to meet with some investors and to attend yet another pitch contest. Kelsye and I found ourselves in a strange Motel, that looked like it was stuck in another era, one where long, pastel colored cars should be parked smugly in the parking lot. The water went off mid-shower as we were getting ready for our pitch, the toilet seat fell off and there was no phone in the room to call down to the front desk, but it was somehow perfect. We ate astonishingly wonderful breakfasts in the trendy Cow Hollow neighborhood and laughed as we slurped $1 oysters, admiring our shoestring decadence.
We weaved our way downtown on a bus, passing a dragon dance in the middle of a sidewalk at mid-day in Chinatown, determining it a good omen, sipped pumpkin chai in a coffee shop as we met with an investor, and later sat in chairs that looked to be made of airplane wings in a trendy work-loft space where we arranged ourselves in front of our foam core signage and talked about Writer.ly in excited tones for an hour and a half hoping for enough of the coveted pseudo million dollar bills to be selected for a four minute pitch. Our millions didn’t add up and so Kelsye did a one minute pitch, not enough to convince investors of the brilliance of our idea. At eleven that night, we sat in our respective beds trying to interpret the unearthly SkypeÂ gurgles being emitted all the way from India as we tried to resolve yet more issues on the site we are desperately close to launching.
The following day, after our last meeting, Kelsye and I sat in an Italian restaurant sipping from white mugs waiting for J who was coming to whisk me away to Napa for the weekend. He came dashing across the street, blonde hair tousled, a light coloured blazer over a black turtleneck, looking so boyish and grown-up at once, it made me laugh. We fought traffic all the way to Napa and later found ourselves in a hushed theatre listening to a line of men in black suits harmonize Christmas carols. Actors retold the WW1 story in a series of quotes from soldiersÂ reminiscencesÂ of how a lone German soldier walked into no man’s land and sang Silent Night one Christmas eve in 1914. Their rendition of the song was so haunting that I was flung back to Christmas Eve of 2001, singing the same song to a 2-year-old Carter as I watched the moonlight against the snow outside the window and wept heartbroken tears.
As I listened to the chorus of men, I wept silent tears that I let drop to my lap and held the hand of the man beside me who I hoped didn’t notice. I was annoyed by the intrusion of memory, and yet remembered and marveled that woman, a woman I couldn’t imagine being now, who somehow sang that song to her son, despite being so broken.
Home intruded the next morning, followed by a pang of guilt when I texted my sweet senior and discovered that despite my constant reminders and texts, a standardized test, needed for college entry had been missed for a second time. I tried not to recriminate myself. Learning to be responsible for one’s own actions (or inactions) as the case may beÂ was part of growing up. She can’t rely on Meemoo forever.
The rest of weekend was spent sipping extraordinary wines, hearing tales of J’s family as told by his uncle and aunt who charmed with their excited approach to life; listening to a constant stream of christmas music that remains in my head and has surprisingly put me in more of a Christmas mood than I am willing to admit; bouncing through the Victorian mansion built by one of the Beringer brothers, enthralled by crown moldings and stained glass windows and hand carved fireplaces the way only an architect’s daughter can be.
I laughed, charmed by my boy-man’s backward wiggle on a tiny, improbable ice rink in Napa as I taught him how to skate backwards and spin. I shivered when he took my hand on the plane home, sighing as I seem to do often these days when I realize I am living life in a constant state of awe, a life I never in a million years could have imagined.